So you’ve made it to your first Strongwoman competition, that’s an achievement in itself!
Months of training may have led up to this day, and you’re probably a bit apprehensive about what to expect.
Strongwomen historically performed in a circus, music halls, or other settings and displayed their strength through feats like moving heavy objects and juggling people, but we’ve come a long way and strongwoman athletes are taken equally as seriously as the strongmen.
I’ve put together some of my top tips on how to prepare for your first strongwoman competition and some of the classic lifts you’ll find in this world class event!
Modern day strongwoman athletes
The word “strongwoman” has recently come to refer to female competitors in competitions like the yearly World’s Strongest Woman and Arnold Pro Strongwoman contests, which are recognised by the International Federation of Strength Athletes (IFSA) and Arnold Sports Festival.
Strongman is a sport in which strongwomen compete, and over the past ten years, the sport has gained such popularity among female strength athletes that there is now a clear qualification pathway for amateur female athletes to work their way through the ranks to international level, and eventually compete as professionals.
Participants perform similar events to those found in official strongman competitions in each of these contests.
Events to expect in a Strongwoman competition:
- Deadlift with various implements such as a barbell, axle, loaded frame, car, etc., all of varying weights.
- Squat – of varying weight, often the barbell or axle is loaded with wagon or truck wheels that are larger than standard weighted plates.
- Atlas stones
- Vehicle pull
- Farmer’s Carry
- Tyre flip
- Overhead press using various equipment such as an axle, log, keg etc.
Tips for women taking part in their first Strongwoman competition
I would advise anyone considering participating in their first competition to read the advice provided below, have fun, and appreciate the thrill of competing and pushing yourself.
Don’t worry if you’re not strong enough for all the events!
Unlike other strength sports, the weights in Strongwoman are fixed for each weight category, so it’s not unusual in your first competition to find that there is an event where the weight is just too heavy for you to even do one rep.
The main thing to remember is that ‘zero-ing’ an event is normal and happens to many strongmen and strongwomen. It does not affect your ability to take part in the other events and score well on the events you are good at.
Having access to the right equipment to train on can be a big advantage, as you can practise the event in the way it will be run, rather than just trying to get as strong as possible on normal gym kit.
Finding a gym that specialises in Strongwoman events and training is the best chance of giving you the competitive edge.
Train the events with more experienced competitors
If you’re lucky enough to find a strongwoman training gym with seasoned competitors or trainers, ask them for advice!
Strongman and strongwoman competitors are typically very friendly and supportive of anyone joining the community and will take time away from their own workouts to assist someone attempting to get better. It will be very beneficial for you to use the equipment a few times before your first competition because technique is crucial for all of the events.
Prepare your kit!
You definitely don’t want to arrive at the competition and discover that you’ve forgotten your lifting belt or another piece of equipment. Spend some time completely unpacking and repacking your gym bag the night before you leave for the competition.
Even though it might not seem like a big deal, mentally going through all of your equipment and verifying that it is in its proper location can relieve a lot of stress and prevent last-minute franticness at the competition.
Competitions can sometimes start out chaotically, so be ready for that. Make sure you get an opportunity to practise some of the actual moves in the event during your warmup by being confident and getting stuck in! Everyone lines up in front of the object before the competition begins, and takes turns warming up.
Bring some resistance bands with you so you can use them to warm up and mobilise.
Lastly, be sure to take shifts using the equipment to warm up. The object used in the competition may feel different from what you are used to, even if you are lucky enough to practise in a facility with strongman equipment.
Enjoy the experience
Finally, no matter how you look at it, your first competition is going to be a learning process, so take advantage of that and learn as much as you can.
The preparation you put in before the competition will show in how well you execute on the day. If you put in excellent preparation before your first competition, you should be able to enjoy yourself and do your abilities justice. You’ll soon be on your way to becoming a ladies who lift success story
There is great camaraderie among fellow competitors in a strongwoman competition, so you will no doubt leave with a few new friends.
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Strongwoman competition FAQs
How many times a week should a woman strength train?
A schedule of two to four strength training sessions per week is a reasonable starting point for most women. Three sessions a week is ideal for beginners, and more experienced competitors will probably do four or five. Two sessions a week is the minimum recommended.
What type of training is strongman or strongwoman?
Strongman training combines basic strength training in the gym with barbells and dumbbells, as well as event training with a range of Strongman objects such as Atlas stones, sandbags, logs, and yokes.
What does strongman mean in the gym?
Functional strength refers to your ability to move heavy or awkward items in daily situations. This includes the ability to pick up, carry, drag, push, throw, or otherwise move a load on your own. This is the fundamentals of Strongman.